The elements Ferrari must resolve to first save face, then win championships
OPINION: Ferrari's Formula 1 title hopes look all but over after another strategic blunder in last week's Hungarian Grand Prix denied Charles Leclerc the chance to fight for victory, while handing it to chief rival Max Verstappen. The Scuderia now faces intense scrutiny over what it must now do to finally become a genuine factor in championship battles
When do we start saying it’s all over? That any remaining hope of Charles Leclerc taking the 2022 Formula 1 title battle with Max Verstappen down to the wire has been snuffed out. Perhaps lap 39 of the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend was a good place to call time. That’s when Ferrari committed its latest strategy shocker and pitted Leclerc bafflingly for a set of hard tyres that were about as suited to the dry conditions as “wets”, so reckoned Lando Norris.
As a result, Leclerc finished sixth in a race won by Verstappen, when the red machine had lined up on the grid in third and the Red Bull 10th. This was without rain throwing a curveball or a full-blown safety car bunching the pack - just two virtual safety cars, which maintain the intervals. For good measure, Verstappen also spun and was nursing a poorly clutch and upshifts.
Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory
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